considerably more than meet all my expenditures. In addition, the people have raised sufficient food for their own subsistence; all this on the lands which were bid in by the Government at tax sales. Of those sold to private individuals, and which have been cultivated by them, I have no accurate account, but there is no doubt that fully as much more cotton has been produced by them. I can give, then, as the result of my labors during the past year, by directing the industry of some 15,000 freedmen, that they have produced enough to supply themselves with food without cost to the Government, and cotton enough to pay all contingent expenses. This does not apply to destitute refugees who came into our lines after seed time had passed. Such of these as were unable to work have received rations from Government unless they had relatives who could support them, which in many instances was the case. I can safely report, however, that when the final balance is struck between all the freedmen have received from the Government and all it has paid out for them in this department the balance will be against the Government and in favor of the freedmen.
As the lands here are all to be sold or pre-empted under the late order of the President, I cannot, of course, carry them on another year for the Government. As the guardian, by your orders, of the 15,000 colored people in this department, and the only one to whom they have to look to represent them, I also deem it my duty to enter in their name a solemn protest against the action of the majority of the board of U. S. tax commissioners for this district with regard to the disposal of the public lands here. On the first of the year the President issued to them the accompanying order, which I respectfully inclose and invite your attention. This order, so wise and proper, I communicated at once to the people under my charge, in order that they might avail themselves of its just and humane provisions in time to prepare their grounds and plant them in season to prevent their becoming a tax on the bounty of the Government for want of food. I regret to report that two of the commissioners have thus far refused to carry out these orders of the President, on the ground, as they assert, of their illegality, and, I understand, censure me for my action in the matter. I am pleased to report that Honorable A. D. Smith, the only lawyer on the Board, pronounces them legal and just, and had done everything in his power to have them carried out. I have so much faith in the beneficent results to the people under my charge of the faithful carrying out of these orders that I should not be true to my trust did I not in the name of the people present these facts for your consideration.
Trusting that my own action will meet with your approval.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
CIRCULAR.] HEADQUARTERS U. S. FORCES,
Beaufort, S. C., January 16, 1864.
The following instructions, which have been received by the U. S. direct tax commissioners, are announced for the information and benefit of all concerned:
TREASURY DEPARTMENT, December 30, 1863.
U. S. DIRECT TAX COMMISSIONERS:
GENTLEMEN: By direction of the President I transmit the following instructions, which will observe in disposing of lands struck off to the United States.